The Ghosts of Old Iron Town

Whether you’ve lived somewhere for a long time or you grew up there, one thing is most likely true: You probably haven’t seen as much as visitors have. Since returning back to my hometown, I’m finding new stories and faint memories from childhood on some of my return visits. When friends visiting southern Utah on Labor Day invite me on a trip to the historic ruins of Old Iron Town, I decide to join and learn more about an area I’ve lived in for years but haven’t really known. Although Old Iron Town may seem like a small cluster of bricks from fallen ruins or a worn-out dome, these structures hold a place for my imagination as I wander through pathways and bricks.


Entering the first kiln, I peer up at the single open window of this abandoned brick oven. Started in 1868 by Ebenezer Hanks and a few other individuals, these structures eventually became known as the Great Western Iron Manufacturing Company. Looking at the kilns and other machines now covered in grass and bushes, I think on how these abandoned structures used to produce 800 pounds of iron every 8 hours. In 12 days, one kiln could produce 50 kernels of coal, enough to process one ton of iron ore. It may not seem like a huge feat looking at these old wooden and run down bricks, but looking out at the desert grasses in the sun, it’s easy to see how strenuous it must have been decades ago.

Although the years of rough weather and looters have left behind one kiln, Old Iron Town hasn’t lost mystique. No matter how worn buildings become they still leave our imagination an idea of what might have been. The ruins bring me back to another memory of childhood, a Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “I’m an old truck up on cinder bricks, missing all my wheels . . . I am tucked behind the Jaycees sign, on the rural route, I am a town.” The melody softly sits in the back of my mind as I head back into town with my friends. I may be from here, but in some ways I’m still a visitor.

This post is a part of Monday Escapes hosted by Extraordinary Chaos, Mini Travellers, Travel Loving Family, and Tin Box Traveller.

Mini Travellers


  1. Tanja

    very interesting! #mondayescapes

  2. flipflopglobetrotters

    Now that we’re back from our first 10 month adventure in SEA with our toddler, we’re also rediscovering lots of places near our hometown Haarlem in The Netherlands! As with visitors (who in our experience generally make us appreciate where we live much more), seeing things through the eyes of your child can also give you a whole new perspective. Refreshing 🙂 #MondayEscapes

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I agree. Revisiting places and finding locations to explore at home are very important for every traveler’s experience, and I’m sure it makes you see everything differently with children.

  3. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    Isn’t that always the way – you never really do the things tourists do in your own backyard!
    Old Iron Town sounds fascinating – reminds me of a copper mine we visited in Wales earlier this year. Incredible to imagine what it must have been like in operation.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      I agree. Imagining what it was like while operating is fun to think about. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. minitravellers

    It’s definitely fun to explore those things close to home too. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Glad you enjoyed my adventures at home. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  5. yogawinetravel

    What a fascinating place! I love exploring my hometown – definitely don’t need to travel overseas to discover new places!

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Absolutely. There’s always something to explore where you live. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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